The 9th-annual Arab American Bazaar at Shore Road Park in Bay Ridge on July 26 marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with a celebration Arab heritage.
“It’s our chance to work with the community at large and to provide a day dedicated to the culture,” said Kayla Santosuosso, deputy director at the Arab American Association of New York.
All were welcome to come and get a taste of Arabic culture — figuratively, though traditional dances and songs, and literally, by noshong on Middle-Eastern dishes like falafel.
“We feel like we’re in our old country,” said Abeer Assad, who attended the festival. “I’m happy they do this each year.”
Local Bay Ridge dance troupe The Freedom Dabka Group stopped by to show some cultural pride through the art of dabka dance, which is an old Arabic folk dance used to ward off evil spirits.
“It was nice, we enjoyed it,” said dance leader Amer Abdelrasoul. “We are usually very involved in the community.”
In addition to all the dancing and eating, henna artist Omneah Hamdi was on hand to do traditional henna tattoos. She said she liked the way the annual festival brings her community together.
“We get to see people that we haven’t in a year,” she said. “All of them are happy and all of them want to be happy.”
Hamdi said henna is a cultural staple which has long been used to decorate women’s bodies during these types of celebrations.
“It’s like we were revisiting our old country,” Hamdi said. “And that’s very passionate.”